Gamers can expect to see even more ads in the coming years.
Marketers are expected to spend $7.2 billion to place advertising in or around games worldwide by 2016, up from $3.1 billion this year, according to a new report from research firm DFC Intelligence. In North America alone that figure is expected to grow from $1 billion in 2010 to $2 billion by 2014.
The ads typically appear within the games as billboards, posters or product placements. They also come in the form of pre-game spots or as games developed by brands themselves.
Roughly 78% of game ad revenue will be generated from advergames or ads wrapped around games in 2016, DFC said.
Analysts have always seen in-game advertising as a growth opportunity. In 2009 media firm Group M expected that global market to grow by 2014 to $1 billion, a figure already overtaken.
Marketers have long seen in-game ads as a way to target younger males, so it’s no surprise that companies in the fast food, soda, snack, apparel and auto categories have taken advantage of the popularity of sports and racing titles.
But advertising is expected to go broader as games on Facebook and cellphones command more attention from casual gamers. “Videogames have reached beyond adolescent males into a mainstream entertainment medium that touches every segment of the population,” said DFC analyst Michael Goodman. “Despite this, advertisers continue to underutilize videogames as an advertising vehicle. This is slowly changing as more games go online.”